"I feel like I'm almost giving birth to this record" - hmv.com talks to Katy B
As Katy B prepares to follow-up her outstanding debut album On A Mission with Little Red, we chat to her about making the album, working with multi-million selling songwriters and duetting with Jessie Ware and Sampha.
Your album Little Red is out on Monday after a long build-up, are you excited to get it out there?
"I'm really excited actually. It's been two years in the making and I feel like I'm almost giving birth to this record, it going to be out there for everyone to see."
When did you actually make a start on the album?
"When I came off my last tour at the end of 2011, at the beginning of 2012, that's when we got going."
You've worked with lots of different people on this album, how long did it take to put it all together?
"Quite a while, I was doing lots of festivals and bits in-between in 2012, also I wrote a lot of songs. It took a while to come together, but I wanted it to be right."
What's the oldest song on the record? Are there any that date back a few years?
"I think 'Aaliyah' is the oldest one on there, we did that one quite quickly after the tour, it made me really excited to start writing again."
Where did you record the album? Was it in one studio or loads of different ones?
"A few different studios, but mainly at Rinse's studio in Brick Lane. It's a really nice place to record, the radio station's underneath and next door is the office where they're curating events and booking DJs. It's a great place to record because it's so vibrant and always music playing constantly. I even had to go downstairs and ask them to turn it down a few times, I had to be like 'Guys, I'm trying to record up here'."
How did making this record compare to making On A Mission?
"So different. I wrote the first album while I was still at university, I had no advance, I had a job, I'd come in once a week and work on it and it was very chilled. This was a very different experience to that; this is my job now, so that made it feel different. I tried to approach it in the same way as my first album, I wanted it to be the best of London club music and I wanted to write about the last three years of my life."
You worked with Geeneus again, who did the last album with you, was that just as easy as last time?
"I'm a big fan of G, I'm really comfortable with him, he's like family, we work so well together. I feel like he's my Timbaland and I'm his Missy."
What inspired the album? Because obviously your life is not the same as it was last time round…
"You know what? That's why it felt like it was important for me to take some time out before I wrote, just to be with my family, my dog and my friends and actually go out to clubs and get myself back in that environment. Although I would say that any changes I've gone through in my life I have written about so it's a real mixture."
You worked with Guy Chambers (the man who co-wrote almost all of Robbie Williams' biggest hits) on a couple of tracks on the album, what was he like to work with?
"Really good actually. We worked on ideas together and he's really good at getting stuff out of you, we were talking and he somehow managed to make me think of the time my friend told me she'd stopped at traffic lights and started crying and she realised she'd split up with her boyfriend six months earlier and she'd never dealt with it, which is where 'Crying For No Reason' came from. He was really easy to talk to and it was a brilliant thing to do."
There's a track with Jessie Ware on there too, what was she like to work with?
"She was a dream. She came in on her day off after I messaged her on Twitter and asked if I could send her the song, she really liked it. She came in and while she was in the booth I got so excited, she sounded great."
There's also a song with Sampha too, how did that come about?
"I had a song in mind for him, like a duet, but in the end he said he'd just come to the studio and see what happened. He wanted to work with the producer and me and once we started working together we got on really well, he worked so well with me."
How come 'What Love Is Made Of' didn't end up making the final cut?
"I wrote so many songs for this album, that I just wanted to put more on there and that meant I had to cut some out."
How difficult was it to pick the final tracklisting?
"I feel like there are certain songs that are drawn to each other, you build it around a nucleus of songs and try it get the flow right. I treat it a bit like a mixtape, a really good mixtape."
You're going out on tour next month, how difficult will it be to bring this album to life in a live arena?
"With my stuff from On A Mission it was a bit of a challenge, I wanted to keep it authentic to how it sounded in a club, but I never wanted to be that girl who played in front of a DJ, I love live music. I love my band now, they're like my brothers, we've nailed it."
After the album comes out, what's next for you?
"I'm going to America actually, I'm going to do some writing both for myself and for other people. I'm going to New York, Miami and L.A to do some sessions, not sure what that will end up as yet. Then I'm going on tour and then I'm going to do lots of festivals in the summer."
Katy B's Little Red is out on Monday (February 10) and you can pre-order it now from our download store.